11th September 2004
the beginning of the week I promised you a DVD review of one of the Summer
blockbusters, and now I'm delivering. If you click
here, or on the sleeve image,
right, you'll be taken to the Zeta Minor review of the Region 2
version of Universal's Van Helsing Two Disc Collector's Edition
The disc is released here on October the
11th. The Region 4 (Australian) version, which appears to be
virtually-identical, is available now. The Region 1 version is released at
the end of September. There's a lot of confusion about what features the
single disc and three-disc US editions will contain, so I'll update the
review as more information becomes available.
now have the final set of Roswell DVDs, and can clarify what the
bonus materials are. The Class of 2002 - Making Roswell Season Three
featurette is thirteen minutes long, and features interviews with
Executive Producer / Writer Jason Katims, stars Jason Behr, Brendan Behr,
William Sadler, Adam Rodriguez, Katherine Heigl, Majandra Delfino and
details, see the
News entry for August the 28th.
8th September 2004
DD Home Entertainment have issued a short
press release about their forthcoming Nineteen Eighty-Four DVD,
which I think is worth reproducing in its entirety...
CLASSIC SF DRAMA PAINSTAKINGLY RESTORED
Classic TV specialist DD Home Entertainment claims
to have set a new quality benchmark on its restoration work for the 1954
This early landmark of British television, which
will be available for the first time ever on DVD and video on November
8th, required extensive work on it, but viewers will - according to DD -
find the restored picture even better than when it was first transmitted!
In December 1954 videotape recorders (even for broadcast use) were two
years away and existed, if at all, only in prototype form in research
laboratories. Since 1947 BBC engineers had been able to make crude
recordings of TV pictures simply by pointing a film camera at a monitor
screen. However, dramas were not recorded until 1953 and
remains one of the earliest surviving examples of the art-form. It was
recorded at the time using an ingenious system of modified telecine
New transfers of the film recording were
commissioned from BBC Resources using its highest quality Spirit datacine
equipment. Special arrangements were made with the BBC Film and Videotape
Library for access to the archive master material, which cannot normally
The new copies of the play were graded. This is the
process of taking each shot (or even part shot) and adjusting the
brightness and contrast. 'Dirty cuts' (where a frame is made of
superimposed and distorted pictures from two cameras) were removed or,
where possible, repaired using paintbox techniques. Next, every frame of
the play was examined and film dirt, scratches and other defects were
laboriously re-touched and pointed out by hand. Finally a video process
was applied to give the studio sequences the fluid motion appearance that
they would have had on original broadcast. The result - one of the
earliest surviving examples of British television has been restored to
Nineteen Eighty Four
will be available from November 8th 2004
Bay will release a box set of the first three Children of the Corn
films on October the 18th. All three films will have a choice of Dolby
Digital 2.0, 5.1 or DTS sound tracks. The first film will feature a
commentary track by director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirkby and
actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains; a featurette titled Harvesting
Horror: Children of the Corn; a theatrical trailer; biographies; "Kids
Artwork" title sequence gallery; and storyboard and stills galleries.
The two sequels will feature film notes and
biographies. RRP for the set is £24.99. The discs will also be made
available separately, for £14.99 each.
has officially announced that Chancer - The Complete Series will be
released on October the 4th. The set will contain all twenty episodes of
the series, spread across six discs.
The series made a star of Clive Owen, in his first
major TV role, as a wheeler-dealer business analyst who buys out a failing
sports car company. The series also starred Lynsey Baxter, with guest
appearances by luminaries including Leslie Phillips, Sean Pertwee,
Benjamin Whitrow and Peter Vaughan (who would later star alongside Owen
again, in a memorable episode of Paula Milne's detective series Second
Sight). The disc's only bonus feature is a stills gallery. RRP
for the set is £39.99.
Tartan have announced their first two
November DVD releases.
The first is Kim Jee-Woon's psychological
thriller A Tale of Two Sisters, which will be released as a
two-disc set containing almost three hours of bonus material. The film, a
haunted house flick about two convalescing sisters who are bullied by
their stepmother, will be accompanied by "commentaries with director, and
actresses Im Soo-jung; Moon Geun-young; cinematographer and lighting
director" (answers on a postcard...) The set will also feature
behind-the-scenes documentaries, cast interviews, deleted scenes and a
stills gallery. The film will be presented with a choice of Dolby Digital
or DTS 5.1 tracks, with an anamorphic transfer. The set is released on
November the 22nd, with an RRP of £19.99.
I'm always interested in seeing what
Malice Aforethought's Hywel Bennett's been up to, and One For The
Road, Chris Cooke's male-bonding drama about a group of men who meet
on a rehabilitation course for drunk drivers, sounds like it should give
him plenty to get his teeth into! Bennett plays a retired property tycoon.
Cooke's film, shot on DV, also features Heartland's Rupert Proctor,
Holby City's Greg Chisholm, and Juile Legrand and Micaiah Dring
(both from Footballer's Wives).
The Lottery-funded film will be supported
by a commentary track by Chris Cooke and producer Kate Ogborn; a cast
commentary; and three short films, including Cooke's 1999 film,
Shifting Units, with director's commentary. The film will have a
choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 audio tracks, and will feature
English HoH subtitles, and an audio described track. The disc is scheduled
for November the 22nd, with an RRP of £15.99.
7th September 2004
Fox is releasing a box set of Matt
Groening's Futurama series on October the 25th. The Complete
Collection set will have an RRP of £79.99, and looks like it will
contain the same discs as the individual season sets, with all the same
commentary tracks, animatics, artwork galleries deleted scenes, etc.
Here's the groovy box art...
Fox are adding ten more titles to their
£5.99 budget range on October the 4th. The titles joining the collection
are Poison Ivy 2, Hoffa, Black Widow, Brubaker,
The Hustle, Stir of Echoes, Entrapment, Family
Business, Rising Sun and Kiss of Death. No technical
details were announced. Here's a look at the sleeve art...
Bad news for UK Babylon 5 fans:
Warner Home Video has delayed the release of both the Babylon 5 Movie
Collection box set (containing Thirdspace, A Call To Arms
and River of Souls) and the Series 5 box set. The
Movies set will now be released on January 17th 2005, the Series 5
set will be released on February the 28th 2005.
More bad news - Network are postponing the
release of all their remaining September titles (including The
Adventures of Robin Hood - Series 3, The Adventures of Dick Turpin
- Series 3, and Chancer - Series 1 and 2). These delays are
also likely to have a knock-on effect on some of the October titles, too (Star
Cops and The Sweeney - Series 4, for example).
had a quick look at MGM's two-disc Species Special Edition, which
is being released next week, and can confirm some of the details
(durations, bit-rates, etc).
The first disc contains the film, in
anamorphic 2.35:1 ratio, with a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS audio
tracks (DD at 448kbps, DTS at 754kbps).
The average bitrate is 8.43Mb/s, rarely
dipping below 7.9Mb/s (and then probably only on fades to black).
The disc has English HoH subtitles for the
film and the supplements (excluding the two commentary tracks). The film
retains its original burnt-in captions ("U.S. GOVERNMENT LABORATORIES
DUGWAY, UTAH", etc).
The film is accompanied by two new
The second disc contains a five-minute
titled Species III Set Invasion,
promoting the next film in the
series, (which features Natasha Henstridge, albeit perhaps only in the
first couple of scenes).
There are five featurettes, all featuring a
mix of contemporary interviews, raw footage, on-set footage and new
material: The Concept (17m), The Origin (10m, an interview
with Producer / writer Dennis Feldman), The Discovery (20m),
Designing a Hybrid (15m) and H.R. Giger at Work (12m, including
a lot of footage about the film's excised nightmare train sequence). The
disc also contains an Alternate Ending (a two-minute scene which
would have been tagged on after the rat scene at the end - don't get too
excited, it's simply a scene that reunites Marg Helgenberger and Michael
Madsen's characters, indicating a long-term relationship).
6th September 2004
It's going to be a busy week here this
week, even without Ceri, who's still enjoying a break! (He'll be back with
major updates to the Incoming and
Offers pages next week). In the meantime,
new bargains are being flagged over at the High Street section of
Roobarb's DVD Forum. The
Incoming page has had a cursory update - I've checked that all the
new titles listed for release today are still expected, and have moved the
ones that aren't to their new release dates.
Ceri's written a review of Network's
two-disc Till Death Us Do Part - The Complete 1974 Series DVD,
which is available now! Click on the sleeve image, right, or
here to read the review!
I've got another review lined up for you this week, and it's for one of
the big Summer blockbusters. Stay tuned!
Previous Zeta Minor News entries can viewed